Life in the Hills

TSTMuri and I moved to California in 1971, at first living in an apartment complex in the San Gabriel Valley.  It was convenient to my work but the valley was prone to periods of awful, eye-burning smog.  Besides, we’d come to California ready to have a house of our own.   Our search gradually gravitated south to Orange County where most of the new construction was going on.  Every weekend was spent navigating our way (without GPS!) to new neighborhoods and walking though model after model.  Some were too expensive (actually, many were too expensive).  Some were too small or didn’t have the features we wanted.  One was actually too smelly.  It was a beautiful house, but on the day we went to make an offer, the weather was wet … and it became obvious that the entire development had been built on a former dairy farm.   Many of the houses that were out of our price range were in Anaheim Hills, a planned, lower density community distributed in the hills near the Cleveland National Forest, but we found a nice house we loved on a smaller hill in Yorba Linda, CA.  It was our happy home for 31 years, but in 2001, business was very good so we moved to a larger house at the top of Anaheim Hills.

There are many advantages to living in the Hills.  The neighborhoods are quiet and nicely landscaped, lined with houses ranging from modest two-stories like ours to what my brother-in-law, Norm, calls McMansions.   There are many open areas and canyons that are maintained in a semi-wild state by the Homeowner’s Association, giving the place a more rural feel than most of Socal.  On a clear day, particularly in the winter, the view can be phenomenal … but rest assured, there aren’t many days as clear as this one.

anaheim hills

Being a hill-dweller has disadvantages, too.  For one, when the Santa Ana winds blow in from the desert, we get them in spades, filling our yard with debris and knocking over plants.  During the winds, I often wear ear plugs at night sofire1 the howling winds don’t keep me awake.  Worse, our proximity to the National Forest and the strong winds make us susceptible to wildfires.  In the years we’ve been here, we’ve been evacuated three times for several days each time.   But still, we love our House in the Hills.

Of course, you just know my Inner Curmudgeon and I have a pet peeve … and that would be the drivers.  Anaheim Hills is an affluent community full of late model luxury cars and trucks … and every driver seems determined to show cars1that his ride is the fastest.  The speed limit on the mile and a half hill up to our house is 40 miles an hour but if I go any slower than 50, I’m sure to be passed by a Porsche, tailgated by a Tesla or nearly flattened by a Ford F-150 with four thousand dollar rims (don’t you just love alliteration?).  And the odds are 3:1 that the driver is either on the phone or texting.  The vortex of this motor vehicle mayhem is the single shopping center on the hill.   The parking lot can be entered only from the uphill direction, so cars enter the lot at breakneck speeds … and cars leaving the lot that want to go downhill need to cross four lanes of the Anaheim Hills version of LeMans to get to the u-turn lane.   The parking lot is crowded at any time of day or night and the law of the jungle prevails … the survival of the fastest.   Yesterday, I stopped at the ATM machine.  As I was backing out of my parking spot, a blue corvette honked.  I looked back to see him waving me out because he wanted my spot, so I continued but a Lexus SUV coming the other way blasted her horn without slowing down.  I had to dodge four cars backing out of parking spaces to get to the exit and I conscientiously waited five minutes for a break in the traffic, which got me honked at by the truck behind me.   Some bozo in a Beemer still flipped me off because he thought I cut him off, which was quite a feat since he was holding his iPhone in his other hand.  By the time I got out of the lot and headed home, I was ready for a Xanax.

So, here it is, Top Sites Tuesday and I need to come up with Two Thoughts on TuesdayThought Number One: I love Life in the Hills.  Really.  I’m not complaining.  Well, my Inner Curmudgeon is … I’m just observing.  And Thought Number Two:  Wouldn’t we all be happier if we just slowed down a bit?   If you’ve got a minute, tell me the pet peeve in your neighborhood in my comments section.  And if you’ve got a second, push my button … gently … to make me Number One on Top Sites Tuesday #236.

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5 Comments on “Life in the Hills”

  1. Margo Says:

    Pet peeve here – in a suburb of Southampton on the South Coast of the UK – apart from the fast-moving 4x4s and school-run mums with tunnel vision – is the increasing petty vandalism from kids who have had the funding taken away for their one and only youth centre!

  2. Cheryl P. Says:

    There are a lot of things that bother other people that don’t bother me in the slightest…for example: lines or traffic jams. I can be patient but rude drives make me NUTS. Having someone honk for me to pull out would have me going ballistic.

    The idea of being in the path of a fire is seriously scary. Even 3 times is 3 too many.


  3. Trina Says:

    A pet peeve of my neighbor hood would be…. oh who am I kidding I’m lucky if I see a neighbor most days. It’s quiet here, locals refer to this part of the Delmarva Peninsula as LSD – Lower Slower Delaware. We are much slower and way more relaxed. Now a pet peeve of the area would be tourist season. All those New Jerseyians (Jerseyites?) and New Yorkers come through here to get to the beach and they drive terribly and aggressively.

    You have a beautiful view from The Hills 🙂


  4. Wolfbernz Says:

    Hi Bud,

    Socal is beautiful. The views can be magnificent when the air is clear.

    A buddy of mine told me last week that how is he supposed to be happy go lucky when just driving in LA traffic is enough to make you angry. You get flipped off, cut off, honked at, and screamed at before you even leave you street.

    Great Thoughts!

  5. Rex Shaffer Says:

    Hi Bud Our story is very similar to yours. I bought a little home in long beach and rented it out. That was a couple of years before I met Bettie. After we were married we move into that home and basically had a three year honeymoon. When Julie came along we quickly outgrew our house. We started looking for a new one and ran in to all the situations you did as we searched. Either we didn’t liked the location or it didn’t have the amenities or it was to expensive. Then we struck gold. My friend Ron Invited us to dinner at his new home in a place called Yorba Linda. To us that was way out in the country. Ha! We fell in love with model home that you must have fell in love with also. Can you imagine? Cement driveway, three car garage, two fireplaces, tiled kitchen counters that extended outside the large sliding kitchen windows. And as you know the floor plan was unique and very cozy. We really enjoyed our new neighbors. I think we were all on a high those first few years. Good memories we will always cherish. Rex

    Sent from my iPhone

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